London 2012: Team GB men set to face Brazil in warm-up game
Team GB's men's and women's football teams to face Brazil and Sweden respectively in warm-up games for London 2012
Stuart Pearce insists he couldn’t think of a better way to warm up for the Olympics after it was announced the British men’s football team will face Brazil in a friendly six days before their first fixture.
Team GB will welcome five-time World Cup winners and two-time Olympic silver medallists Brazil to Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium on 20 July.
Britain begin their Olympic campaign proper against Senegal on 26 July, while just hours before the clash with Brazil, Hope Powell’s women’s team will play a friendly with Sweden.
It will be the first time since 1971 and a qualification match with Bulgaria that a men’s British Olympic team will have taken to the field while for the women it will be the first time ever.
And Pearce, who saw his Team GB side drawn against Uruguay and the UAE as well as Senegal in the group stages of the Olympics, is adamant the warm-up match will be an occasion to savour.
“I have learned a great deal about the Olympics since I was given the opportunity to lead this team and I realise just how massive an event it is going to be for the whole of Great Britain,” said Pearce.
“In world football they don’t come much bigger than Brazil and it should be a terrific occasion for us going into our first match.
“Middlesbrough recently hosted an under-21 game and had a tremendous crowd, and I think particularly with the Brazilian connections on Teesside it will be a terrific turnout again come July.”
The British women’s team play their opening Olympic game against New Zealand during the first session of London 2012 on 25 July while also facing Cameroon and Brazil in the group stage.
And Powell insists they will be treating their warm-up match with Sweden, whose best Games finish came in Athens in 2004 where they finished fourth, as if it were a competitive fixture.
“There has been a lot of work behind the scenes to plan and prepare for this tournament and the final warm-up match is a key part of that,” said Powell.
“Sweden are a strong side and we want that challenge to be ready for July 25 when the Olympics begins for us.
“It is a huge opportunity, both in this country and worldwide, to showcase women’s football to a bigger audience and grow the game.”
© Sportsbeat 2012